HERstory ~"I am proud to say that the Vice President Elect of the United States looks like me!"
When Kamala Devi Harris walked on to the stage in Delaware, she walked in the shoes of many women who had helped get her there. As she made her acceptance speech as Vice President-elect, women everywhere rejoiced and none more so than Ann-Nakia Green. Ann-Nakia, granddaughter of civil rights activist Ann Atwater and an activist in her own right, felt the enormity of this historic moment. It is because of the tireless work by women, like Ann Atwater, who helped Kamala take her much deserved seat at the table.
We asked Ann-Nakia, what does it mean to you seeing Kamala becoming the next Vice President and what do you think your grandmother would have thought?
Ann-Nakia: Melanin, for so long and even today is looked down upon. If you possess it you were made to feel inferior, ugly, unintelligent, worthless. The woman, for centuries is told to stay in her place, to be seen and not heard, only good enough to keep a house, tend to the husband and kids and not considered an equal to her male counterpart. The black woman, abused, ridiculed, looked over, misunderstood, passion mistaken for anger, murdered, silenced, unequivocally the most hated and on November 7th, 2020, seven representing the number of completion, a woman, no a woman of color was chosen as the Vice President-elect of the United States of America, Kamala Harris.
I was at work when I received the news and for a minute the entire place (well to me) fell silent. The anxiousness and fear, if I’m keeping it real, at the state of the country with a race so close, I really didn’t believe it at first. I remember thinking wow the country in which I reside, where I call home hates me. Many that I considered friends, hate me. My neighbor hates me and not just me anyone that looks like me. So much prayer and meditation centered around change, so many times I sat in silence hoping to connect with my grandmother, searching for her voice her wisdom. Around Thursday I felt a peace I hadn’t in a while and like many discussing the unfavorable possible outcome the fear of it all my comments were confident and gentle. A large part of me believed that Joe Biden would become our next President, but I hadn’t thought of the resonance behind us electing our 1st female, a woman of color to the 2nd highest ranking position in the country.
When I confirmed the truth that Senator Kamala Harris was in fact our new Vice President, my mind reflected to that of the story of another amazing black woman, Ann Atwater. Like Madam Vice President Harris, Ann Atwater became the 1st female Deacon at Mt. Calvary United Church of Christ, located in Durham, North Carolina under the leadership of Rev. J.C. Cheek at that time. I would like to believe her passion and love for God and people, her work in the church and community created a lane in which her gift made room for her, granted her a seat at the table one in which for many is governed by man. She served in that capacity alongside Deacon Alice Gun and they served with integrity, empathy and love.
My grandmother had the opportunity to witness the historical election of President Barack Obama and the nations first African American first family. She was so overjoyed that we had arrived at a time where for a moment the content of our character outweighed the hue of our completion but barely. To witness this historical glass shattering occasion, a moment in the last 4 years I, no many could exhale I know my grandmother would be so proud. I can envision her smile, hear her voice, and imagine she would say “Would you look at that?”.
I am proud to say that the Vice President Elect of the United States looks like me because representation does matter. I am honored to believe that the experiences I’ve been blessed to share with my grandmother’s teachings, those about exercising my right to vote, protecting that right, upholding that duty gave me the courage to believe in my vote for this election. That change, the change we’ve been manifesting has presented yet another opportunity for us to get to work. No one can take this moment from us, no one can deny that and if you can, if you can honestly tear down a moment such as this I leave you these words by the great Dr. Maya Angelou ~
“ Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman